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Festive cheer in Norwich over the Christmas period

PUBLISHED: 06:49 29 December 2010

John Chapman serving up Christmas dinners at the Open Christmas lunch for the lonely and homeless at St Andrews Hall.

John Chapman serving up Christmas dinners at the Open Christmas lunch for the lonely and homeless at St Andrews Hall.

©Archant Photographic 2010

Norwich was filled with festive cheer as the city woke up to a light dusting of snow and new babies were born.

While Norwich may not have had an official white Christmas, temperatures plummeted overnight from Christmas Eve, leaving the city with a cold Christmas Day and just a hint of the white stuff.

Elsewhere in Norfolk snow fell at 6pm at Weybourne, making it the first white Christmas in the county for 15 years.

And while it was nippy outside, there was some festive cheer for scores who enjoyed the warmth and generosity of others – as more than 400 guests tucked into Christmas dinner at the 19th Norwich Open Christmas.

The annual volunteer-run event at St Andrew’s Hall on Saturday welcomed people from the homeless and lonely to partake in some festive food and enjoyable entertainment.

Linda Harper, who organised the event for the 12th time with husband Colin, said: “I always say it’s a shame you can’t bottle the spirit we have here. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported us this year.”

Meanwhile, more than 150 people who might otherwise have been spending Christmas alone attended Great Yarmouth’s Open Christmas. The Marina Centre’s Retro Skate arena was festooned with bright decorations for the 16th staging of the event.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital had a very busy Christmas period.

Just six babies arrived on December 23 but Christmas Eve saw 15 new arrivals and there were 16 more on Christmas Day.

The Noble children, Ben, 15, Ella, 11, and Thea, eight, woke up at their Attleborough home on Christmas morning to find the best Christmas present ever – a new baby sister.

Parents Adrian and Cheryl Noble had been expecting their fourth child on December 12, but by last Thursday there was still no sign and Mrs Noble had to be induced.

A day later the labour finally started and Edie May was the first Christmas baby to arrive at the N&N at 1.03am, weighing 7lbs and 6oz.

Mrs Noble said: “It was so lovely to be able to get home before the other children woke up. I was so obsessed about having to get home for them.

“When they came down they saw me and thought I had given up and come home, but then they saw Nanny holding the baby and their faces were a picture.”

One family which had a Christmas Day surprise arrival were parents Emma Conlin, 34, and Lee Stolworthy. Their son Oliver James was due on January 2, but decided to arrive early.

The couple, from Beechcroft, New Costessey, dashed to the N&N, and Oliver arrived at 7.40am weighing 7lbs and 2oz.

And while new lives were beginning in Norwich, a two and a half century old tradition continued in Strumpshaw on Boxing Day as villagers gathered on the steps of the parish church as corn was handed out.

The tradition had first started 255 years ago when farmer William Black handed out corn to the poor and wrote in his will that the handout should go on forever, regardless of who occupied his house.

Twenty-eight villagers turned up on the steps on December 26, although today instead of taking the corn to the local mill to turn into flour for bread, many recipients use it to feed birds or chickens.

Meanwhile, in North Walsham, former EastEnders star Ross Kemp joined in the cheers as 39 suited and bearded Santas were seen hopping onto bicycles and cycling around the north Norfolk coast as part of an annual fundraiser in aid of NSPCC.

And record numbers braved
sub-zero temperatures for the traditional Christmas Day and Boxing Day dips in the North
Sea.



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